Arcade Wednesday - Limbo
Limbo (2010; Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC, Mac) follows the story of a boy looking for his lost sister in a forest (described as "the edge of hell"). The entire game gets its eerie feeling from the environment, colors, and even the title itself. It is a 2D side-scrolling platform game complete with puzzles and is a prime example of video games as art. This dark game was originally an Xbox exclusive for its first year of release, but developer Playdead released ports of it onto the PlayStation Network, Microsoft Windows, and Steam
The game has a monochromatic background, creepy soundtrack, and gruesome deaths for the main character, which are used to deter plays from repeatedly trying impossible solutions to puzzles. There is actually an achievement/trophy for completing the game with five or fewer deaths, which is quite a challenge. One of the defining things about Limbo is that it does not have any dialogue in the game or the cutscenes. The boy runs into a few human NPCs (non playable characters) throughout the game who either attack the player, run away, or are actually dead. At the end of the game, he runs into a girl who stands and stares at him. As he tries to approach her, however, she runs away, which abruptly ends the game.
One of the criticisms of Limbo is that the game is priced too high since it is too short. Some reviewers were disappointed that the game's ending was similar to an open-ended book or movie, and players have come up with their own interpretations of the ending, and the main situation of the game. Why was the boy so intent on finding his sister? Was he only searching for closure? Was she already dead? Are both of them dead, and the boy is only looking to reunite with her in limbo, before they reach the afterlife?
Limbo is available on the PlayStation Network for $15.00 US, the Xbox Marketplace for 1,200 Microsoft Points, and Steam for $9.99 US.